Skip to main content

How to apply

Find out how to apply for your preferred course

The process depends on whether you're applying as an undergraduate, postgraduate, domestic or international student.

Select from the options below to find out how to apply.

Further down, you can read information on:

I am applying for ...

Undergraduate study as a domestic student

All domestic undergraduate applications are processed through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

You can apply for up to nine courses in order of preference, at any university in Australia.

If you’re applying straight from high school (or within a few years of finishing), your ATAR or equivalent will be the deciding factor in whether we can offer you a place in your desired course.

If you have completed further tertiary study or you’re older than 21, see our academic requirements for an indication of the types of previous study we will recognise in your application.

Offers for Semester 1 entry are made from early December through to late February. Check UAC's website for more information on when you need to finalise your application.

Undergraduate study as an international student

Firstly, figure out whether you need to apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), or directly to the University of Sydney.

Do you have a secondary or tertiary qualification from an institution outside Australia?

  • Yes? You need to submit your application directly to the University of Sydney (this is called being a "direct applicant").

Or, is your qualification a Year 12 school certificate completed in Australia?

  • You can apply through UAC in the same way as a domestic student. (See the entry for domestic students above).

Direct applicants

To apply, choose the degree you want to apply for on Find a course, and select ‘apply now’ at the bottom of the page. 

Your application needs to include all supporting documents, including certified copies of your academic transcript, and any additional requirements of your course. 

You may also need to demonstrate your English language proficiency if your qualification is from an institution that does not primarily teach in English.

Once you have commenced an application, you can save and return to it later using login details that will be sent to you by email.

Your supporting documents need to be certified copies. You should also be able to produce the originals on request at any time. Documents that are not in English need to be accompanied by a complete English translation made by an accredited translator. 

As part of the admissions process, we will contact the issuing body to verify the documents.

We recommend applying well before the closing date for your course, to ensure you have adequate time to arrange your student visa, flights and accommodation.

A non-refundable application processing fee of A$100 is charged. This fee is waived if you’re a sponsored student, or if you are granted an exemption by a University staff member during an office interview or recruitment event.

As the application process for international students is complex, we have partnered with a range of agents and representatives overseas that can apply to the University and make arrangements on your behalf.

Honours as a domestic or international student

Honours is a year of additional study following an undergraduate degree. There are two types:

  • embedded honours (for internal applicants)
  • stand-alone honours year (for external and internal applicants)

Entry to honours in your chosen major or discipline usually requires an undergraduate degree with a minimum credit average.

Most faculties accept applicants to honours from other universities, so if you’ve completed your degree elsewhere, you can still apply to do honours with us (see Changing universities).

Attend an honours information evening with your faculty (usually held in September) to find out more about how they handle the honours application process.

Embedded honours (for internal applicants)

Some courses require you to complete a pre-honours subject as part of your final undergraduate semester, which means you’ll need to plan for honours up to one year ahead. 

Before the end of your final semester, you should submit your honours thesis topic proposal. However, bear in mind that pre-approval of a particular topic doesn’t guarantee entry to your honours program. 

To qualify for honours, you will still need to achieve the required grades to ensure a high enough weighted average mark (WAM), and show that you have the ability to conduct high-quality academic research.

To apply, contact your faculty's honours coordinator and lodge your application with the faculty.

Stand-alone honours year (internal and external applicants)

See the list of stand-alone honours courses we offer.

To apply, use Find a course to select your honours program, then click the 'apply now' button.

Getting your application together

Regardless of whether you’re an internal or external honours applicant, there are a few common things you will need to do.

1. Show a strong academic record: You’ll need a minimum WAM of 65 to 70 percent. If you’re at Sydney, this is automatically checked along with your application, but if you’re from another university, your application should include an academic transcript.

2. Prepare a research topic proposal: You’ll need to choose a topic, that your faculty considers of academic importance, to study for the entire year. Picking the right topic is crucial to success, so most faculties have an honours coordinator to help you through the process. They may even provide a list of available projects. 

In some faculties, you may be required to put together a preliminary topic proposal which, once approved, will be followed by a more detailed research proposal that will form part of your thesis.

3. Find a supervisor: This person is your mentoring academic for the duration of your honours project. They’ll help you set goals and deadlines, and provide feedback and advice along the way. To find out about available honours projects contact the honours coordinator in your faculty.

4. Fill in the paperwork: When you’re ready to apply, most faculties require you to submit a standard application form with your supporting documents using Sydney Student (if you’re already a student here) or Find a course.

Postgraduate coursework as a domestic or international student

If you are a domestic student applying for the Juris Doctor at the Sydney Law School, you will apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

In every other case, you apply for postgraduate coursework direct to the University, using the 'apply now' option within Find a course to take you to the Sydney Student portal where you apply and upload supporting documents.

Before starting an application, make sure you are familiar with the academic requirements for entry to your chosen course. Some only accept applicants with a related undergraduate degree, and all courses require a minimum grade point average.

If you are an international student, you also need to make sure your undergraduate qualifications are recognised by the University. Contact us for advice.

Once an application has been started, you can save and return to it later using login details that will be sent to you by email.

When to apply

Most applications to start in Semester 1 close on 31 January. There are some exceptions, such as the Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Dental Medicine, so check the details at Find a course.

We also have a Semester 2 intake for the majority of our courses, for which the application closing date is 30 June. But, again, there are a few exceptions, so doublecheck the details.

We recommend applying well before the closing dates to ensure the best chance of success, as offers are made on a rolling basis.

The outcome of your application will be emailed to you after it has been assessed by the admissions office and relevant faculty.

Successful applicants will receive an unconditional or conditional offer. Conditional offers will be made firm upon the submission of further documentation. Unconditional offers can be accepted by logging in to Sydney Student.

International students

Like domestic applicants, you will also apply for postgraduate coursework directly to the University (see above).

But take note of the additional steps in the admissions process, such as applying for a student visa, and paying a deposit before you accept your offer.

Postgraduate research as a domestic or international student

Postgraduate research is also called a 'higher degree by research' (HDR). Degrees within this category include a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or master's by research.

Eligibility for admission is dependent on prior research experience. You need to have undertaken a significant research project or thesis either as part of an honours year, or as an assessable component of a master's by coursework degree.

Application and commencement dates

We accept applications all year round. There are four research periods each year when you can start your study with us:

Research period 3: 1 July to 30 September 2015. Enrol between 1 April and 31 August. Commence no later than the census date, 31 August 2015.

Research period 4: 1 October to 31 December 2015. Enrol between 1 September and 31 October. Commence no later than the census date, 31 October 2015.

Research period 1: 1 January to 28 February 2016. Enrol between 1 December 2015 and 31 January 2016. Commence by the census date, 31 January 2016.

Research period 2: 1 March to 30 June 2016. Enrol between 1 February and 31 March. Commence no later than the census date, 31 March 2016.

Not all faculties offer all research periods; some only commence new students in periods 2 and 3. Visit Find a course to find the starting semester for your degree.

If the results of your first degree are not yet known, this should not stop you from applying, as long as you forward your results as soon as you receive them.


Many students apply for a scholarship and a place in a research degree concurrently. Most scholarship applications require proof that you have applied for a research degree with the University.

For details about applications and closing dates, see our section on research scholarships.

How to apply

Start by reviewing the research degrees we offer. Once you have an idea of the type of research and qualification you would like to apply for, secure a supervisor within the University whose academic background aligns with your research. Research Supervisor Connect is the perfect place to start.

When contacting a member of academic staff, include:

  • an introduction to your academic background and research experience
  • the topic or area you would like to research
  • why you would like them to supervise your project
  • how your proposed research project aligns with their background and experience.

As part of the application process, you will develop a research proposal of at least 500 words, covering the intention, objectives and significance of your research.

You will also need to submit two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements. For instructions, locate your specific course in Find a course.

Your prospective supervisor will be able to guide you through this process. Each faculty requires a different format and level of detail.

Your research proposal should be submitted along with supporting documents through Find a course. Select the course you want to apply for, and select ‘Apply now’ at the bottom of the page.

This will redirect you to Sydney Student, where you can save and return to your application, upload and submit documentation, and formally accept an offer if your application is successful.

Assessment of your application

Your application is subject to one of four outcomes:

  • acceptance to the program (an unconditional offer)
  • a conditional offer
  • an alternative offer
  • no offer.

A conditional offer may be made if you are waiting on academic results that will impact your application.

An alternative offer may be made if the faculty cannot offer the degree at a doctorate level. If you have satisfied the minimum academic requirements for the course as outlined in the faculty handbook, your qualification may be upgraded at the end of the research program.

No offer will be made if you have not supplied sufficient documentation or evidence of meeting course requirements.

Part-time PhD students (domestic only)

If you intend to study part-time towards a PhD, you will also need to supply:

  • evidence that shows you will have sufficient time available to plan and carry out the research under the supervision of the University, and complete the course within the maximum period allowed for a part-time PhD enrolment
  • a declaration from your employer (if relevant) confirming that you will be permitted to take the time required to effectively pursue your studies.

If you have a question about entry requirements or the application process for a higher degree by research (PhD), please contact us.

Additional selection criteria

In addition to submitting your main application to study, some courses require you to attend an interview, give an audition, or supply a portfolio. You will be assessed on your performance in these areas, along with your academic grades. Specific details are given on faculty websites and in Find a course.

Learn more about course-specific application requirements for:

Supplementary application forms

For some courses, you will need to fill out a supplementary application form. Download the relevant form here.

Find the right form

Postgraduate coursework

Document submission guidelines

During the application process, you may be asked to attach supporting documents. These must be true and complete records. You can scan these documents and upload them online.

You should be prepared to provide original documents or original certified copies of supporting documents upon request at any time. Failure to do so may result in your candidacy being rejected.

Detailed checking of supporting documents is an inherent element of our admissions process and may involve asking for verification from the original issuing authority, relevant tertiary admissions centre, or other organisation.

Documents submitted in a language other than English must be accompanied by a complete English translation made by an accredited translator with a government body, the Registrar of the issuing institution or, for international applicants, registered University of Sydney education agents who have been designated as translators.

Applicants from the People's Republic of China may have their academic transcripts referred to the Ministry of Education's China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Centre (CDGDC) for authentication.